OSTP ELA Computer-Based Writing Tools

5/03/22 Test Administration Update
May 3, 2022

RE: Explanation of how to use the tools available in the Writing session of the Grades 5 and 8 ELA tests

When taking the writing session of the grades 5 and 8 ELA tests, students must keep the cursor in the open-ended response box. Pressing the tab key on the keyboard, clicking outside the box, or touching outside the box (on a touchscreen device) will cause the cursor to disappear from the open-ended box. If this happens, the student must put the cursor back inside the box using a mouse or touch if using a touchscreen device.

Options for Students Constructing Paragraphs:

  • Students may skip lines between each paragraph by pressing the enter/return key on their keyboard if their cursor is in the open-ended response box.
  • Students may use the space bar to indent their typing at the start of each paragraph if their cursor is in the open-ended response box.

Cursor Disappearing from an Open-ended Box

When the cursor stays inside the open-ended box, the student may type, delete text using the delete key, cut/copy/paste text they have written in the open-ended box, skip lines by pressing the enter key, and may use the tool buttons available to them in the testing interface. These tools include undo, redo, bold, italics, and underline. To use the bold, italics, or underline tools, the student selects the text and clicks the desired button. Instructions for using keyboard shortcuts for cut/copy/paste are available in the testing interface.

For students who are unable to use a mouse or a touch screen device, press the tab key to move the focus of the device to the next button in the testing interface. Press the enter key to select the button.